A black haze hung over the side of the hill like a vulture waiting for death to come so it could feast upon flesh. A distant cricket chorus hushed briefly as branches cracked under light footsteps.
The Visitor had come before searching when the structure was first built before a poison had overtaken it.
Now, alas, the remains were only a craggy outline of turrets and broken walls of moss covered brick, too high to mount and even colder to the touch.
He sighed, not in defeat but with concern. As the latch on the door fell way to his strong hands it sank in the imprint of his palms for but a moment as if to study this being that dared disturb it.
Shafts of moonlight shimmered through the trees and settled over the entrance and walkway.
Where there had been once a moat now a stench of decay and disdain filled the air, climbing from the bowels of the earth and mixing with the murmurings of the wind.
He ignored the stench and began to slowly open the massive door.
A chill crept through the darkness but left as the warmth of His presence filled the room.
** They came.**
The sound of thunderous wings and high pitched shrieks echoed in the corridors and only the occasional glimpse of dull visionless eyes and dagger edged fangs met His gaze of love.
An enormous horned beast whose wingspan reached across half the room screeched, “Leave us be”
“Anger, I have waited for you but it is time.” replied a strong but gentle voice.
Splinters of glass flew with the highpitched screams of offspring. They clung to the underbelly of their parent, a hideous creature, but as they sensed another presence, they longed to let go.
As He spoke to each blinded beast with victory swelling from His chest light began to seep through the cracks.
“I came that You might have Life and have it more abundantly.”
“It’s too late for me,” bawled Shame. “I’ll never be good enough,”
“It’s not my fault,” pointed Blame, at his siblings. “I’m afraid I’ll fail”, spouted Fear.
Their pathetic squawks echoed in the foyer but the luminous figure just nodded and smiled. “It was for every one of you that I died.”
A sneering look was cast by yet another winged creature of the night, “I won’t change and no one can force me,” Pride grit his jagged teeth.
“I’ll teach others a lesson,” chimed in Vengeance.
“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” the Visitor looked at each helpless looking varmint and spoke with kindness and authority.
“Be imitators of God….just as I forgave you must forgive."
As darkness faded into the shadows and the brightness of Dawn peeked it’s brilliant light through the holes one by one a popping sound filled the air.
From the thickness of bondage they emerged. With the door open each creature flew out and as the last flying charge exited…so did unrighteous Anger.
Slowly the moss fell away as the stench faded into the breeze, now permeated with sweet Honeysuckle and golden Lilies.
The castle? It was now a palace of beauty-shining in the brilliance where the Visitor stood, smiling in the sunlight.
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